Fiji Business Briefs:  Ministry name change, medicinal cannabis movement, Down to Earth deal

Photo: Fiji Government

Name Change for Ministry of Trade, Cooperatives, Small and Medium Enterprises, and Communications

The Ministry responsible for small businesses will have a name change, to acknowledge micro enterprises and their role in the Fiji economy. From 1 August 2024, the Ministry will be called ‘Ministry of Trade, Cooperatives, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, and Communications’. MSMEs represent approximately 82% (or some 30,000) of registered businesses in Fiji. A government statement notes that while micro businesses could be considered the engine of growth for Fiji’s economy, they are also one of the most vulnerable segments and need recognition and support from the Government through policy initiatives, financing, training and market access.”

Fiji moves ahead on medicinal cannabis

The Fiji Cabinet has approved the establishment of the medicinal cannabis industry following extensive consultations and a feasibility study. The decision paves the way for foreign investment, with Medical Kiwi, a New Zealand-based market leader, set to invest FJD$65 million in Fiji over the next few years. Government says the move signals a significant step towards leveraging innovative science and technology in Fiji’s burgeoning cannabis market.

Sauce maker secures major UK deal

Fiji-based condiment specialist Down to Earth has secured a deal to export its products to the United Kingdom. The deal is expected to see FJ$140,000 worth of Down to Earth’s chili sauce and products in supermarkets in the UK and boutique stores across Europe. Director, Sam Campbell says, “By securing a UK based distributor we can lower the costs and distributor margins to try to enter new market places. We now have four UK stockists purchasing monthly.” 

Down to Earth Director, Sam Campbell

Listed companies see share price rises in January

The South Pacific Stock Exchange (SPX)  e-trading platform experienced robust activity in January 2024, with increased market capitalisation and positive movements in key indices. The overall market capitalisation for the month of January increased by 0.78% in comparison to the prior month and concluded at FJ$3.36 billion. The increase is attributed to increase in share price for Amalgamated Telecom Holdings (ATH), Free Bird Institute (FBL), FijiCare Insurance (FIL), Kontiki Growth Fund (KGF), Pleass Global (PBP), Port Denarau Marina (PDM), and Vision Investment (VIL).

Fijian Holdings appoints development & construction manager

Fijian Holdings has appointed John Matthews as Development & Construction Manager. With over 30 years of experience in construction, including leadership roles in Fiji and the South Pacific, Matthews brings a wealth of expertise to FHL. 

Fiji participates in economic partnership meeting in Samoa

Fiji recently participated in a meeting focused on improving the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) between the European Union and Pacific Island states including Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and Solomon Islands. The gathering in Apia, Samoa also looked at expanding the IEPA’s reach to include other Pacific nations. Discussions centred on trade, sustainable development, and opportunities for sectoral growth, particularly in agriculture and kava exports. Delegates also discussed key asks at WTO MC13, with Fiji focused on the second wave of negotiations on the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies to address overcapacity and overfishing, safeguarding marine ecosystems and livelihoods. Niue, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu participated in the meeting as observers.